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Agenda - Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Agenda - Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Lake Erie North Shore

Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan Terms of Reference Introduction The Niagara Water Quality Protection Strategy (NWQPS) (2003) has identified the need to manage Niagara’s watersheds in such a manner as to “sustain healthy rural and urban communities in harmony with a natural environment, and rich in species diversity”. The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), issued under the Planning Act, now includes policies whereby Planning Authorities shall protect, improve or restore the quality and quantity of water by using the watershed as an ecologically meaningful scale for land use planning. The Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan will make recommendations to planning authorities, interest groups and landowners on the best way to protect, improve and restore water quality and quantity in the land use planning process as well as recommend a restoration program and associated strategies to achieve the NWQPS (2003) vision. A Watershed Plan is a proactive document created cooperatively by government agencies and the community to manage the water, land/water interactions, aquatic life and aquatic resources within a particular watershed to protect the health of the ecosystem as land uses change. The Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan will provide strategies to allow the community to care for water resources, natural heritage, settlement and agriculture in the context of land use planning documents (e.g., Official Plans). It will also provide strategies for implementing watershed initiatives and specify who is responsible for remedial actions outside of the land use planning process (e.g., restoration opportunities on public and private lands). The Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan will generally follow the process described in Water Management on a Watershed Basis: Implementing an Ecosystem Approach, (MOEE, MNR 1993). The Lake Erie North Shore watershed includes Local Management Areas 2.12, 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 as identified in the NWQPS (2003), which fall within the City of Port Colborne, City of Welland, a small portion of the Town of Fort Erie, Township of Wainfleet and Haldimand County. Numerous subwatersheds form the Lake Erie North Shore watershed including Beaver Dam Creek (P.C.), Bearss Drain, Point Abino Drain, Bay Beach Area Drain, Oil Mill Creek, Wignell Creek, Indian Creek Drain, Hoover Drain, Low Banks Drain, Casey Drain, Eagle Marsh Drain, a portion of Wainfleet Marsh, Welland Canal South, and Lake Erie 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 (Figure 1). The major concentration of urban land uses (residential, commercial, industrial) is within the City of Port Colborne and the City of Welland. Local Management Area 2.12, which contains the Indian Creek Drain subwatershed drains into the Niagara River. The Niagara River has been designated by the federal and provincial governments in cooperation with the International Joint Commission (IJC) as one of forty-three Ares of Concern (AOC) in the Great Lakes basin. This designation is due to degraded water quality, which impairs complete use of the River's resources. In response to concerns over the health of the entire Niagara River ecosystem, a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) was developed. The Niagara River RAP Implementation Annex (November 2002) can be found on the NPCA website. Recommendation 23 (p.17) of the Implementation Annex states: "Municipal planning documents incorporate ecologically

Figure 1 based policies and design criteria". Page 12 of the report includes habitat targets that could be included in Municipal Official Plans (e.g. 30% of the watershed should be natural forest and/or wetland, 10% of the land in each tributary as wetland, 30 metre natural vegetative buffers on streams, and so forth). The Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan will address the Niagara River RAP. Local Management Areas 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 drain to Lake Erie. Canada and the United States signed a Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1978 which committed both countries to address water quality issues in the Great Lakes as a coordinated effort. Through this agreement both countries agreed to develop and implement Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs) for each Great Lake. The purpose of the LaMPs is to identify environmental impairments in the lakes and develop strategies to restore these impairments. The Lake Erie LaMP was completed in 2000, and includes remedial actions that can be implemented immediately which addresses things such as urban sprawl, shoreline development, climate change, the introduction of non-native invasive species, the use and destruction of natural lands and resources. The Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan will address the Lake Erie LaMP. The Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan will also take into consideration the Shoreline Management Plan for Lake Erie completed in June 1992 for the NPCA’s jurisdiction. The major goals of the shoreline management plan were to minimize danger to life and property damage from flooding, erosion and associated hazards along the shoreline, as well as to ensure that shoreline development adequately addressed these hazards. The topography of the Lake Erie North Shore watershed is relatively flat. Agriculture in the watershed is characterized primarily by poultry, dairy and some hog production,

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